April 21, 2024

I read the online edition of Interaksyon last Wednesday about 86-year-old Ayala Corporation Chair Emeritus Jaime Zobel and his wife, Beatriz Miranda Barcon, who, while they were queuing in a vaccination site in Makati City on Tuesday, were “offered to go ahead, but Don Jaime refused to skip the line stating, ‘No, we’re all Filipinos’.”
Sinovac was the jab they got. Hats off to them who, despite being consistently in the roster of Philippines’ wealthiest by Forbes Magazine, have shown character. They showed a lot of breeding, humility, decency, and manners, unlike those who skip the lines because they are close with the powers-that-be – seven mayors included and out here, a university president.
Of course, his honor, says he will investigate but we already know the outcome. Then I see a lot of caricatures on the Internet with someone asking “Bugoy” why he has not yet been vaccinated and his straightforward reply was, “Hindi kasi ako kaibigan ni mayor!” Not in Pasig though, where collegiate basketball coach LA Mumar, who is Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto’s half-brother, also refused to be prioritized. Ganun din kaming mga hampaslupa, waiting for our turn hopefully by 2025, unless our names have not been deleted or refused.
On another front, former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, who is celebrating his 85th birthday tomorrow and happily, seems to be on the road to full recovery. He was on the brink of death when he caught the Covid infection. He was brought to Ospital ng Maynila where he waited for hours in the corridors like an ordinary mortal for a room. No preferential treatment for the ex-president, ex-mayor, ex-senator, and ex-convict. At least we remain friends and not ex-pals.
In normal times during his birthdays, I would drop by his house at Polk Street or his favored restaurant in Annapolis, Greenhills where hordes of friends would gather to wish him good tidings. When he wanted peace and quiet, he would sneak into his home here in Baguio and I, with Bobby Burgos, Reggie Kee, and him would drink Blue Label or his HK$1,800 wine ‘til the wee hours.
He would tell and retell his old jokes like war stories but without being patronizing, one still gets a laugh at them. Classic ones:
Erap went to France to watch the World Cup. He was toured around by a French official. “Mr. President, this is Joan of Arc. Do you know her?” Erap: “Of course. She’s Noah’s wife.”

Erap was at a black-tie party along with Reli German who supplied him with a constant flow of Blue Label. All the gentlemen came in black jackets, white shirts, and black ties and the ladies in black gowns.
Erap thought it was a boring party so he kept drinking his Blue Label to get him through the night. Then he saw a lady in a white gown. “Reli, that’s the lady I like,” Erap said. “She is a non-conformist and a rebel. I think I will ask her to dance.”
“Madam, would you care to dance with the President of the Republic?” Erap asked.
The lady replied, “No, and I will give you three reasons. Reason No. 1, I don’t know how to dance.”
“That’s a legitimate reason,” Erap remarked.
“Reason No. 2, you are drunk,” the lady continued.
“That’s your opinion,” Erap said.
“Reason No. 3, I am Cardinal Sin.”

While in a friend’s wake. Erap: “Jinggoy, tara na. Mauna na tayo.”
Jinggoy: “Dad, kararating lang natin. Ba’t gusto mo na umuwi?”
Erap: “Hindi mo ba nakikita ‘yung sign, ‘Remains will be cremated.’ Alis na tayo!”

Why did Erap take off his clothes when he took the CSC exams? A: Because the test says, “Answer in brief.”

Erap while in grade school answering teacher.
Teacher:“What is 5 plus 4?”
Erap: “9!”
Teacher: “Good! Now, what is 4 plus 5?”
Erap: “Trick question ‘yan mam! Binaligtad niyo lang. E ‘di 6!”

When asked what impressed him most after a visit to the Sea World, Erap says: “It’s the first time I’ve seen an octopus up close. I never realized it had so many testicles.”
In all his “wisdom,” he, too, had quotable quotes, like “Don’t judge a book because you are not a judge,” or “Birds of the same feather are the same birds,” or “An apple a day is seven apples a week.”
Filipino resiliency made them stand up against the Spanish and Japanese oppressors, laughter kept their sanity through it all.